A baseball season without Jackie Robinson Day, just another punch in the gut to sports fans in what has been a beating of a year on the world in the wake of COVID-19.
As April 15 passes, I can’t help but think about the tradition that will be missed this year. The anniversary of the breaking of the color barrier in sports that the MLB and its fans will not be able to honor this season.
Starting in 2009, every year on Jackie Robinson Day players and coaches around the MLB all wear the number 42 with no name on their jersey to honor Robinson.
The day is even more special at Dodger Stadium. Even though 42 is retired by every team in the league, Robinson spent his entire career playing for the Dodgers.
For the past 5 years I have made sure to get tickets to the Dodger game on Jackie’s day, always out in the pavilion for the chance of catching a homer.
I almost did last year when Joc Pederson hit a 2-run walk-off home run that landed about 20 feet away.
It was the first time I had seen a walk-off in person. Even though the Dodgers were losing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth after surrendering the lead in the top half of the inning, there was this feeling still across the stadium that boys in blue would pull through. They had to.
And they did. For all the falling short of expectations in the franchise’s history, some of which wasn’t completely their fault as we recently found out, the Dodgers always seem to do something special on April 15.
Whether it’s Joc’s walk-off, Kershaw striking out 12, or Kike Hernández sending 2 over the wall against Bumgarner, something special always seems to happen on Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium.
It makes me sad thinking about what special moment we missed this year.
Although just because baseball isn’t being played right now doesn’t mean fans can’t remember Jackie and celebrate what he did not only for the world of sports but pushing forward civil rights worldwide.
We’ll just have to do it another way this year.